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UMNS Weekly Digest - August 24, 2012

Editor's Note: A draft of the UMNS Weekly Digest was sent out in error earlier today. This is the correct version. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Aug. 24, 2012

NOTE: This is a digest of news features provided by United Methodist Communications for Aug. 21-27. It includes summaries of United Methodist News Service stories, UMTV video reports and additional briefs from around the United Methodist connection. Full versions of the stories with photographs and related features can be found at

News Stories:


Bishop accused of encouraging disobedience

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - More than 70 United Methodist clergy and lay people in the United States have sent an open letter to the Council of Bishops accusing retired Bishop Melvin G. Talbert of encouraging disobedience to the denomination's stance on homosexuality. The letter urges bishops when they next meet to "publicly censure" Talbert. Read full story and comment

United Methodists prepare to meet Isaac

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (UMNS) - With winds at 60 miles an hour, Tropical Storm Isaac continued toward Haiti on Friday afternoon, Aug. 24, and United Methodists were gearing up to provide relief. Read full story and comment

Is pastor's self-care selfish?

DURHAM, N.C. (UMNS) - Caught up in the day-to-day demands of ministry, clergy often find it difficult to take time to attend to their health. But, in North Carolina, United Methodist clergy are learning that it's more than OK to care for themselves. Read full story

College majors' value not measured in cash

NEW ORLEANS (UMNS) - In response to Kiplinger's "worst college majors," Walter Kimbrough - president of United Methodist-related Dillard University - contends the value of a college degree does not rest solely in how much money you make after graduation. Read full commentary and post a comment»

Keep college students connected to church

HONOLULU (UMNS) - College ministries fall into one of several categories in The United Methodist Church - Wesley Foundation, chaplaincy, local church-based or ecumenical. What do they all share in common? They give students a chance to put their faith into action, and they are often a great form of evangelism. The Wesley Foundation at the University of Hawaii offers an example. Read full story»

Chaplains nurture faith on campus

ADRIAN, Mich. (UMNS) - Chaplains often help students discover a more meaningful life. At United Methodist-related Adrian College, for example, the chaplaincy program is helping the college to graduate a striking number of clergy candidates. Read full story»

New bishop elected in Congo

KOLWEZI, Democratic Republic of Congo (UMNS) - The Rev. Gabriel Unda Yemba, of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, was elected Aug. 23 as a United Methodist bishop by delegates of the Congo Central Conference. He will lead a new episcopal area in a nation where the church is growing rapidly. Read full story and post a comment»

'Church history requires we discuss racism'

ASBURY PARK, N.J. (UMNS) - The Rev. Gilbert H. Caldwell, whose grandfather was born near the end of slavery, contends that the church's history of division over slavery and segregation "make for a United Methodist story worth 'telling the nation.'" Read full commentary and post a comment»

Mass shootings sign of young adult crisis

PASADENA, Calif. (UMNS) - Troubled young adults were responsible for the recent mass shootings in Aurora, Colo., Arizona and Virginia Tech, points out the Rev. Beth Cooper, a campus-ministry veteran. She offers suggestions for churches to help address growing mental-health concerns among young adults. Read full story»

Joplin church to reopen worship center

JOPLIN, Mo. (UMNS) - The rebuilding of the worship center at St. Paul's United Methodist Church, left in ruins after the May 22, 2011 tornado that destroyed part of the city of Joplin, is nearly complete after a year of construction. Read more

Sales agreement for Publishing House property

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - The Board of Directors of The United Methodist Publishing House has voted unanimously to agree to sell the 201 8th Ave. S. building, adjacent Cokesbury store, and several nearby parking lots in Nashville. The directors agreed to sign a sales agreement after being approached by a group of investors. The sales arrangement is not yet final and the closing will not occur until the end of 2012. See news release

Publishing House memories

Worship attendance resource available

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - To help churches improve worship attendance, the Lewis Center for Church Leadership is offering a free 10-minute video with practical suggestions.
Find online

Conference seeks help for wildfire relief

CLE ELUM, Wash. (UMNS) - The United Methodist Committee on Relief through the Pacific-Northwest Annual (regional) Conference is involved in several disasters in the area. The Taylor Bridge fire is among those disasters. Most of the conference support is focused on case management during long-term recovery. To see how to help»

Publishing House drops 12 staffers

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Citing a "lower-than-hoped growth in sales," the United Methodist Publishing House has laid off 12 employees, according to a statement given to United Methodist News Service. Neil Alexander, the agency's president and publisher, noted that the publishing house's operations are funded solely through revenue from sales. Read full statement»

Hearing slated on Pakistan's blasphemy law

GENEVA (UMNS) - An international public hearing highlighting the plight of religious minorities and misuse of blasphemy law in Pakistan will be Sept.17-19 in conjunction with the 21st Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva. Organized by the World Council of Churches Commission of the Churches on International Affairs, the consultation continues the council's efforts to support religious minorities in Pakistan. Read full story»

Wesleyan Conferenceon sharing power

NASHVILLE, Tenn.(UMNS) - John Wesley's ministry offers a model of shared leadership between clergy and laity. The third annual Wesleyan Leadership Conference, sponsored by the United Methodist Board of Discipleship, will focus on the practice of sharing pastoral power and how it helps with disciple-making. The conference is scheduled Nov. 1-3 in Nashville. Early bird registration continues through Sept. 1. To learn more and register»

Attending church in prison

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (UMNS) - As many as 120 women serving sentences for crimes that range from embezzlement to murder participate in Grace Place Ministries, a newly approved mission congregation at the Mark H. Luttrell Correctional Center. "It gives them a real connection to other United Methodist churches," says the ministry's executive director. Read full story»

Tips for the care and keeping of young clergy

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - United Methodist clergy and clergy candidates in their 20s and 30s talked at a United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry summit about their challenges and successes - and how the denomination can help them be more effective in ministry. Read full story»

Spark12 considers finalists for social justice startups

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Young adults around the globe who want to change the world and know exactly how they would do it will soon learn if they have a chance to put their ideas to the test. Twelve projects are being considered for funding from Spark12, a pilot incubator for social justice ministry startups developed and implemented by teams of young adults. Read about the finalists»

Penn State, Paterno and leadership hazards

MITCHELL, S.D. (UMNS) - As the college football season begins, Roger G. Duffet reflects on the moral questions raised by the misplaced loyalty of Penn State leaders to Jerry Sandusky. Duffet is the president of United Methodist-related Dakota Wesleyan University. Read full commentary»

Holston Conference donates to Liberia

MONROVIA, Liberia (UMNS) - The Department of Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church in Liberia has been distributing donated items from theHolston Annual (regional) Conferencein commemoration of national holidays: Independence Day and the upcoming National Flag Day. The items include rice, vegetable oil, canned beef, beans and oats. Other items included in the holiday package were toothpaste, body lotion, body spray and other personal-hygiene products.

Celebrating 621 new congregations

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - The United Methodist Board of Discipleship's board of directors completed their 2009-12 quadrennium of service by celebrating landmark accomplishments in church renewal, new church planting and central conference resourcing. Among those successes, the agency's New Church Starts (Path1) unit helped plant 621 churches during the past four years. That marks a 223 percent increase over the previous four years. Read full story»

Missionaries reflect on Ukraine accident

L'VIV, Ukraine (UMNS) - Two United Methodist missionaries, one writing from Ukraine and one from a rehabilitation facility in Germany, reflect on the passage of 40 dayssince a fatal accident at a mission work site resulted in the death of two faithful servants. Michael Airgood's blog»

David Goran's blog»

Finance agency expands web services

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - The General Council on Finance and Administration, the denomination's finance agency, has acquired Pathways to Ministry, a web application for tracking ministerial candidates through the process of becoming licensed and ordained ministers. The agency has established a partnership with the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry for the service. Read full story»

2 pastors killed in Sierra Leone accidents

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (UMNS) - Two pastors in the Sierra Leone Annual Conference - the Rev Aiah Famanda, 60, and Joseph Sesay, 34 - were killed in road accidents in this West African country earlier this year. Famanda, an associate pastor, died in May when the taxi in which he was a passenger collided head on with another taxi. Sesay was returning to Freetown from eastern Sierra Leone in February after attending a meeting of United Methodist pastors when the vehicle in which he was riding collided with a cargo truck. From January to early May of this year, about 162 people lost their lives in auto accidents in this country of 6 million.

Georgia church offers help for job seekers

ROSWELL, Ga. (UMNS) - Roswell United Methodist Church in suburban Atlanta has scheduledworkshops for job seekers and a mini job-fair from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. Aug. 27. The church also offers advice for congregations interested in starting jobs ministries of their own. To learn more»

Witness for political conventions

TAMPA, Fla. (UMNS) - United Methodist clergy in Tampa and Charlotte, N.C., are preparing to welcome guests to the Republican and Democratic national conventions. Religious leaders in both cities have joined in prayer and a statement of common witness for the U.S. political process and the wider world. The RNC will meet Aug. 27-30 in Tampa, and the DNC will meet Sept. 3-6 in Charlotte. Read "A Common Witness"»

Help for living Nativity scenes

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Don't tether any of the animals to the stable backdrop - they may pull it down. Keep an eye on the donkeys - they tend to wander. Another tip for having a living Nativity scene? Start planning early. That means now, says InterpreterOnline. Read more of Interpreter Magazine's tips for the Advent tradition»

"Living Nativities - Voices of Experience"»

Hospital residency helps ministers, too

COLUMBUS, Ohio (UMNS) -The Rev. Michelle Baker, an ordained deacon in the West Ohio Annual (regional) Conference, is finishing up her residency this summer at Ohio State University's Wexner Medical Center. Just as U.S. physicians must complete hospital residencies, so too must many hospital chaplains like Baker. Read The Columbus Dispatch's story»

Celebrate Relevance Ministry on Sept. 16

LAS VEGAS (UMNS) - On Sept. 16, churches across the Desert Southwest Conference are encouraged to take part in a special offering that will go to support Relevance Ministries for the work ahead in 2013. This offering will go toward reaching the more than 250,000 young adults in the Western Jurisdiction, providing scholarships for evangelism that will send young adults to Relevance 2013 and supporting the LEAD project that is bringing together the most creative young leaders in The United Methodist Church. Visit today to support and get more information»

UMTV: Child Advances Missions

BARTLESVILLE, Okla. (UMNS) - Ten-year-old Hadley Davis wanted to help the families devastated by the spring 2011 tornadoes in Missouri and Oklahoma. With an entrepreneurial spirit and a talent for designing jewelry, she is raising funds for the United Methodist Committee on Relief's efforts to get Midwesterners back on their feet. Watch video»

Category: Weekly Digest
Tags: News Summaries